What an great time we had celebrating yesterday’s baptism. It was are privilege to baptism three amazing young ladies.
Baptism is seen in all types of Churches, whether orthodox, Roman Catholic or protestant, but there are significant differences in the how different churches baptise people. So most of you will either have been to a christening or be familiar with churches they baptise babies. However we don’t – in contrast we believe that the bible teaches that baptism is only for those who have already responded in faith to Jesus.
Baptism it’s self does not save anyone (only Jesus can do that), but it is a powerful sign and declaration of saving faith.
The greek word ‘Bapizo’ means ‘to plunge, dip, immerse’ That means lots of water. The expectation in the word, is that the person is going to get very wet – completely immersed in water. So in the NT part of the Bible people were normally baptised in a river, rather than sprinkled.
There is nothing magic about the amount of water, but what is significant is what the water symbolises.
Water baptism is a picture of joining with Jesus in his burial and resurrection.
In Roman 6:3-4 Paul describes in a sentence what it means to know Jesus: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life”.
Baptism is a public picture of ‘dying with Christ, burying our sins with him. Then when they come up again it represents sharing in the resurrection of Jesus. Our sin stays buried, but we are made alive. So in being Baptism it is a clear demonstration that we want to be cut off from the grip that sin has over us.
Baptism is not what makes someone a christian and is not necessary for salvation. However, baptism is a command of Jesus, it is necessary if we are to be obedient to him. Jesus tells his disciples to:
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
If we obey Jesus in this command we can expect to receive the blessing that comes with obedience. Baptism strengthens and encourages our faith. It does this for the person being baptised and also for those who are watching – It is a tangible representation of a spiritual reality.